How to Be a Real Super Hero!
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The eldest of two children of Romanian immigrants, Stan's family was poor, but Stan remembers his parents as, "two good people who loved their children more than anything else in the world." Proving that having a super imagination can run in the family, Stan's younger brother is artist-writer Larry Lieber, co-creator of Mighty Thor and Iron Man. The two have worked closely over the years. In fact, Stan and Larry still collaborate on the Spider-Man comic strip, the most successful superhero strip in history!
"Our mother, Celia, was a wonderful woman," Stan recalls fondly in this exclusive CyberSpacers interview. "And our father, Jack, was an honest and caring guy. But I always felt sorry for him. Times were tough, and try as he did, he could not find steady work to support us. It finally broke his spirit. My parents frequently argued over money. It seemed it was never sufficient to pay the rent or buy groceries."
Stan says he will forever regret the fact that by the time he was making enough money
to take care of his parents, it was too late. Stan adored his mother, and she loved him. Stan recalls:
"Although I wasn't a whiz-kid in school, reading and composition were my best subjects. I don't remember when I learned to read, or ever not reading. I was an insatiable reader. I would read just about anything I could, especially adventure stories. I loved Tarzan, Nicholas Nickleby by Dickens, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, O. Henry, and the Hardy Boys. I also read the Bible. And Shakespeare, too. I didn't always understand it, but
I enjoyed the phraseology, the rhythm and use of words and language."
Stan's mother encouraged her son's love of reading, and often asked him to read aloud to her. "At home, I would read a book or magazines at every meal. One of the best presents I ever got was when my mother bought me a little stand to keep on the kitchen table. I could rest what ever I was reading against it while I ate. It had little clips on the bottom to hold the pages in place."
Stan loved going to movies, too. "Swashbuckling films and action heroes were my favorites. The books and movies were a way for me to escape from the sadness at home," Stan explains. "In fact, my love of film led to a job I still chuckle about."
As a teen, he recalls having a job as an usher at a major movie theater. "It was a big deal at the time," he says, "we wore uniforms and everything. One day, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President came in with a bunch of Secret Service guys. And she was standing in my aisle! I walked straight and proud in front of her to escort her to her seat -but some wise guy stretched out his foot, and I tumbled to the floor! Only my pride was injured as Mrs. Roosevelt asked me if I was all right, and tried to help me to my feet."
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